Almost relieved

So I am at work today and I had seen a client who right after me saw the psych nurse PNP. The PNP came into the office and sat down on the chair next to my desk and said “OK I just gotta just put this out there. [client name] kept calling you he while we were talking…..”. I think I had a moment of going blank cuz I do not recall what she said, I just knew it is time. Time to out myself. And I had a moment of panic. And I also knew it was time and it is ok. So I smiled at her and said “I wasn’t planning on coming out right now but I guess it is time. (pause), So I said I am transitioning and half the time people think I am a guy and half the time a female. I am ok with it.” PNP said “so do you prefer he?” I said I actually prefer they, them, their but know that will be complicated here.” Another therapist was there as well. They both almost simultaneously said that’s cool. That was it. Simple relatively quick and completely uneventful. The PNP got up and left. My co-therapist and I smiled and went back to our work. After it was done I felt a bit elated. Then as I am driving home I am thinking “Hmmmm, that was two people out of the whole clinical staff. What is it going to feel like when I get back Thursday? Are they going to out me to everyone else or will they have registered the comment about outing myself before I was quite ready”. I realized I didn’t really care. It was such a relief to have it out there. I know people are curious/confused by me. I am ok with that and here is the thing, I haven’t changed my name or gender marker. So all the legal documentation I do needs to have the name on my license. So that name is on everything I write. And my direct supervisor introduced me as she to everyone. But before he introduced me, actually I introduced myself as I got there first. I am fairly certain they saw me as male because when supervisor arrived that is when he said “she”. The confusion on there faces was evident, but well concealed. Everyone has been great so I am not too worried about it. But it does feel like I need to tell my supervisor now so he doesn’t hear it thru the grapevine. And I slept on this last night, maybe it is time to request everyone refers to me by a specific pronoun as clients tend to follow the lead of the staff. This way it is clear and everyone is in the same place. Is it too much, I ask, to request to be referred to as “they” or should I break down and go for the binary’s he? It is a conundrum. Any feedback is welcome.

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7 Comments

  1. Well, since just calling you Sky is hard for me, I think you should use the “he”. “They” just doesn’t sound right in a sentence and is really hard to say. Do you understand this dilemma? But I know we will all try to use “they” if that is important to you. I love you no matter what!!!

  2. I’d say request “they” as long as you’re prepared to do lots of in-the-moment correcting until it sticks. You’d probably have to do this with any new pronoun to some degree, but “he” will probably catch on quicker…

  3. I use they pronouns all the time, including at work. You have the right to it. I’m still correcting people 5 months into coming out, but sometimes people lead with it now.

    I don’t feel at all comfortable with he or she or I would probably use one of those, just cuz it is hard to fight for it.

    But it’s not actually hard. Most people just don’t care enough to try, practice, or correct themselves.

  4. Ultimately, no one has any control over what anyone else calls them. The sooner that you can let your own wishes be known, the less entrenched your unwanted name/pronouns will become. If “she/her” is not great now, it will be horrible in a few years. Once people start on “he/him,” it will be tough to get them to change to “they/them.”

    So I say to let your preferences be known as soon as you are able to. If you don’t request “they/them”, it will never happen.

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